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A bindle is the bag, sack, or carrying device stereotypically used by the commonly American sub-culture of hobos. The person carrying a bindle was called a bindlestiff, combining bindle with the Average Joe sense of stiff.
In modern popular culture the bindle is portrayed as a stick with cloth or a blanket tied around one end for carrying items, with the entire array being carried over the shoulder. Particularly in cartoons, the bindles' sacks usually have a polka-dotted or bandanna design. However, in actual use the bindle can take many forms.
An example of the stick-type bindle can be seen in the illustration entitled The Runaway created by Norman Rockwell which appears on the cover of the September 20, 1958 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.
Though bindles are rarely used anymore, they are still widely seen in popular culture as a prevalent anachronism.
The term bindle may descend from the German/Yiddish word Bündel, meaning something wrapped up in a blanket and bound by cord for carrying (cf. originally Middle Dutch "bundle"), or have arisen as a portmanteau of "bind" and "spindle."
- "Norman Rockwell: The Runaway". Artchive.com. 1958-09-20. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
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